International Residential Codeâ„¢ (IRC-2006)
Egress/Rescue Openings Code Requirements
For One- and Two-Family Dwellings
EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE REQUIRED SECTION: R 310.1
Basements and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency and rescue opening. Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room, but shall not be required in adjoining areas of the basement. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. Emergency escape and rescue openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2.
MINIMUM OPENING AREA: SECTION: R 310.1.1
All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet (0.530 m2).
Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 m2).
MINIMUM OPENING HEIGHT: R 310.1.2
The minimum net clear opening height shall be 24 inches (610 MM).
MINIMUM OPENING WIDTH: R 310.1.3
The minimum net clear opening width shall be 20 inches (508 mm).
OPERATIONAL CONSTRAINTS: R 310.1.4
Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools or special knowledge.
WINDOW WELLS: SECTION: R310.2
The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.
Exception: The ladder or steps required by SECTION R 310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.